Alumnus fantasy author will release new book on campus

April 22, 2010 at 2:38 am 1 comment

By Melanie Ciarrone
Staff Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010

While Jim Anderson does not write Christian fantasy, he is a Christian who writes fantasy.
“You certainly can’t escape the worldview that you espouse,” Anderson said in a phone interview.
Anderson, who lives in Saskatchewan, received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Franciscan University of Steubenville, having studied under writing professor Dr. David Craig. He has just written two books with his co-author, Mark Sebanc.
Their books are part of a fantasy series called “Legacy of the Stone Harp.” The first book, “The Stoneholding,” was originally published by the authors before it was picked up by Baen Books and published in 2009. The second book in the series, “The Darkling Fields of Arvon,” will be released here at the university on Tuesday, April 27.
“What a great opportunity to actually come back to my alma mater and release (a book) I’ve been working on,” Anderson said. “I’m very excited to come back to the university.”
Anderson said he had always been writing in one form or another, beginning in elementary school. When he came to Franciscan, he took some creative writing classes with Craig.
After graduation, he did a lot of parish ministry and teaching as well as some writing for magazines. About eight years ago, he started helping Sebanc with a novel Sebanc was working on. Eventually, Sebanc asked him to be his co-author.
“When Mark (Sebanc) invited me to get involved, that was actually a big discovery because … that was my first jump into writing long fiction,” Anderson said. “I fell in love with it.”
Anderson said he and Sebanc work well together. Because they can work off each other as co-authors, writer’s block has never been a big issue for them, he said.
The two authors follow the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien, Anderson said, who while he was a devout Catholic, always claimed that the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was not an allegory. His work, Anderson said, is not explicitly Catholic or Christian.
“The world of Ahn Norvys, the world of the ‘Legacy of the Stone Harp’ (series) is a deeply spiritual world,” he said. “There’s a clear moral ethos, let’s put it that way. Good is good and evil is evil.” His work, Anderson said, is not explicitly Catholic or Christian.
His faith, Anderson said, inspires everything he does. He recalled being at a fantasy convention in San Jose, near a church called St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
“I thought it strange how there’s this fascination with fantasy going on at this convention and yet when you walk into the church, here’s the world of the truly fantastic,” he said. “Angels and demons and saints; the Church triumphant and the Church suffering.”
Anderson said patience and perseverance are important parts of his life as an author. Making time to write is challenging because of the time he spends at his day job. He is the director of an adult faith formation program at an institution called the St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission.
When it comes to getting published, Anderson said, “It’s a lot of just being in the right place at the right time and trying to catch somebody’s eye.”
He encouraged aspiring writers not to give up, to be determined and to follow their passion. Persevering in the writing process is key, he said.
“Don’t get hung up on having to finish something right to the end,” Anderson said. “If you’re halfway through something and you want to jump over into something else, go for it. Just keep writing.”
Anderson and Sebanc will hold a book signing outside the bookstore at noon on April 27. At 7 p.m. the same day in Egan Hall room 218, they will give a talk and answer audience questions.

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